There are a dozen variations on the “What do you believe?” question. In a quest to understand how another person sees the world or experiences a certain moment, we might say, “What do you think?” or, as Oprah would say, “What do you know for sure?” I know it’s raining now. I think it will rain tomorrow. I believe the rain will stop before the broccoli molds. Knowledge is about facts. Thoughts are about opin-ions. Belief, however, is all about hope and trust in the things that we can’t know for sure.
In talking about belief, the story about the father seeking healing for his son (Mark 9:14–29) comes to mind. We read that “Jesus said to [the boy’s father], ‘. . . All things can be done for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’”
Perhaps you’ve felt that way a time or two? You definitely believe . . . but, well, it’s hard to believe. You know that God watches over us, cares for us. And that prayer can make all things possible. But there’s that nagging fear that, this time, This Terrible Thing will be insurmountable. Whether it’s a health crisis or financial instability, global warming or institutionalized racism, there’s so much in the world that limits our joy and wholeness. And yet God is with us. And will always be with us.
The contributors to this issue explore this challenging topic of belief. Ella F. Busby looks to scripture for inspiration in our most desperate of moments. Layton E. Williams offers a thoughtful analysis of how and why disagreements and arguments can lead us to more authentic community—a community where we don’t all have to believe the same thing! Laura Mariko Cheifetz looks at the Flint water crisis and asks what we believe about honesty as well as caring for one another and the planet. Beth Herrinton-Hodge highlights the core beliefs of Presbyterians, and what we believe about our relationship to God and others. And Cheri Harper revisits the question of what we believe is significant about women’s groups like Presbyterian Women.
Know that Presbyterian Women is a community, a space where you can say “I believe” or “I believe; help my unbelief!” May the pages that follow strengthen your commitment to sharing your deepest beliefs and listening to others’ beliefs. And may they strengthen you as a believer in Christ’s power and a member of a community of believers.
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Who Needs PW? Why Women’s Organizations Are Needed, Today and Tomorrow
Cheri Harper revisits a decades-old (centuries-old?) debate about why women’s groups are important. And among women’s groups, what unique role does Presbyterian Women play?
Flint’s Residents Still Don’t Have Clean Water
Laura Mariko Cheifetz reminds us that problems like Flint’s contaminated water don’t go away when the media attention stops. She invites reflection on how we care for one another and for the planet to ensure that all of creation is healthy.
Arguing for Community
Layton E. Williams points out a significant misunderstanding about arguing—that it shows a lack of faith or respect. She offers pointers on how to disagree faithfully for the good of the community.
What Presbyterians Believe
There are a number of beliefs that make Presbyterians unique among Christians. Beth Herrinton-Hodge provides an easy reference guide to those beliefs—everything from God’s grace to why a session leads a congregation.
2019 Thank Offering Recipients
2019 Thank Offering Dedication Service
Bible Study Resource
Danilie C. Hilerio-Villanueva offers reflections and questions for use in studying Lessons One and Two of the 2019–2020 PW/Horizons Bible study, Love Carved in Stone: A Fresh Look at the Ten Commandments by Eugenia Anne Gamble.
I Have (No) Doubt
Cecilia Amorocho Hickerson
Unpacking the Theme: Scripture Study Belief During Desperate Times
Can You Believe That?
Ella F. Busby
Trusted to Grow
Amy Starr Redwine
After the Offering
A Safe Haven
Working for Justice and Peace
Wrestling with My Complicity in Racism
News and Information About Presbyterian Women and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Pages Worth Turning
Stories from the Ages
Who I Am
Hillary Moses Mohaupt
Strengthening the PC(USA)